Archive for January, 2009

Slacker be gone!

So my running friends have been looking for me lately.  Somehow, I am having a hard time deciding which races to go for (away or local).  Anyway, it seems like it will be decided for me one way or the other.

The Orange Curtain 50K/100K is happening on 2/21.    The San Deguito Half is happening on 2/8.  A whole host of marathons in the great state of California are on my list of possibles (see the schedules page).

The locals don’t take that much planning.  However, I do have to sign up or miss it entirely.  I have already found myself closed out of Surf City.   So I need to get rid of the slacker that I’m turning out to be.  Stay tuned–I may be finalizing the CA races I’ll hit this year.

Registration for Chicago will open Feb 1st.  New York will be mid-February.  Thinking about the Tahoe Triple also.  We’ll see.

I’m running Carlsbad this weekend; I plan to run it slow, only because I’m just coming back from some case of mild flu.  I’m running with my teammate Christiane, and our pace will be around 9-10.  Whatever works for her.  By the way–it is her first marathon!

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Running marathons is about the most unforgiving of endurance events.  If you put in little training, you will definitely be suffering for a few hours.  It’s the kind of pain that makes you question your sanity; it makes you want to cry, if you have the luxury or courage to.

Anyway, there is no way around it.  You have to keep at your training if you want to be good at running.  When you see someone running in good form at mile 21, he wasn’t born with some gift for endurance.  He worked at it.

Which is why a running base could span years if a runner has never stopped running.  By stopping, I mean any stoppage of 2 months or more.  There is no need to run your body to the ground either.  As long as there is continuity (run some miles weekly), then it will all add up.

I worry about situations where I have to rest due to illness.  Of course, the most time I ever had to stay away from running is one week.  The plus is my body gets the rest; the minus is I feel sluggish when I finally start to run again.  Nothing to complain about, because we are really only talking about days here.

So take my advice–train consistently.  And then run like the wind when you race!

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Please find it here –> The dog ate my running shoes!

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Because the knees act as hinge and shock absorbers, eventually all runners will suffer from one sort of knee pain. These are most likely avoidable. Here are a few tips:

1) Lose the knee straps or compression sleeves. These will give you some mobility during a flare-up, but should not be relied upon when engaged in running. The support is artificial, and the muscles around the knees aren’t getting stronger.

2) Warm up your leg muscles before you run. Light stretching, knee rotations, and gently rubbing the knees will help prepare the muscles for the work at hand.

3) Strengthen all muscles around the knee. Note that all leg muscles are interconnected, and a weakness in one area requires another to compensate.

4) Lessen the impact on the knees. Run mostly knee forward. If the knee is true vertical, the force of impact is absorbed by the knees instead of the hamstrings. I realize that this requires some training, but the idea is to lessen the impact on the knees as much as possible.

5) Train the knees for endurance. Don’t subject the knees to race mileage that are too far away from training mileage. This is a sure recipe for injury. A conservative estimate is +- 5 miles of race distance in training. Also, use a training ratio of 5:1 (for every mile that you race, you should put in 5 miles of training).

6) Baby your knees. Protect them, and watch how you use them in daily life. Put up your feet as much as you can to take away some pressure.

7) Run differently on hills. There is no reason to dread running up and down hills. To run up a hill you need to lean the body forward and take shorter strides. When going downhill, you reverse it lean the body back and take longer strides. Perceived work effort should be on the uphill, with little or no work effort going downhill. I find the hills more forgiving on knees than the flats, possibly because it forces the runner to lower speed and also rest the knees with the change in running form.

8 ) Concentrate on running economy. The less there is of extra or wasted movement, the more efficient your running form will be. Focus on good running form because ultimately it will be good for the knees.

9) Lose some weight. A runner’s weight adds to the downward force. It affects the joints adversely. If you can’t lose the weight, then you need to run slower.

10) Do some training. Nothing that will make your legs look all muscular, but enough to make your legs strong. Avoid extreme movements or heavy weights.

11) The older you get, more cushioning is required. Don’t kid yourselves about bouncing back like the young kids. If orthotics are not easily available, buy shoes that have a lot of cushioning and stability.

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I watched the inauguration intently.   It was great to hear President Obama talk about the issues that face us, not only within our borders but beyond.  The benediction prayer given by Rev. Lowell was especially heartwarming.

We are all responsible for the future of these United States.  Look beyond ourselves and aim to make our children and children’s children live better lives.  Face up to the struggle in this cold winter of our lives and become better citizens of this great country.

We become a better friend to other nations by the measured use of real power.  Make alliances, help others help themselves.  But we will not make an excuse for our way of life, and we will defend it vigorously.

There is cause for hope.

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So one of our teammates got posted to Chicago.  We had a send-off party for him up in Miramar which was well-attended.  In a short 3 years, he had amassed a great number of friends who were sorry to see him go.  I’ve only known him since May this past year.  We were in Kona together, as Ironman teammates–a bond that formed helter-skelter, but can’t be broken.

He is a Navy Seal.  One of those guys.  Rough but real.  You just know at any moment he will say something that’s either crude or it makes you laugh.  Sometimes both.  Anyway it will be much quieter now.

One of our quieter teammates talked to me amidst a light stupor brought on by another bottle of Heineken.  Beyond trying to cajole me into hiking Mt. Whitney (10,000 ft at the base camp and 14,500 ft at the top), I got the sense that he was an adrenalin junkie.  I was grinning when I remarked, heck you should be jumping out of airplanes instead of triathlons.  With a glint in his eye, he said is an experienced parachutist.  (Gulp!)  He said that 500 jumps would be a low number, and that he gets out maybe once or twice per month.  He recommended that I try that too; he was sure I was going to get hooked.

Today is laundry day.  It piles up so much that I have to have one laundry day per month.  Which is okay.  3 piles for sports, and 4 for normal stuff.  Takes a while.  Anyway, it gives me a chance to look around and think.

I stumbled upon this thought of living life versus living an idea of what life should be.  Am I in one or the other?  I am a closet idealist, so living in the moment seems so remote.  Even when I’m racing I’m planning what to do after the race.  So you see, I’m in love with life if the dynamics move forward at record speed.  No, I’m not an adrenalin junkie but to my mind–I just hate being bored.

Some fine tweaks here and there, having a special place to visit, driving a special car, a neighborhood, even a wall applique.  It amazes me that I forget how easy it is to make any moment special.  So I’m desperately wanting and needing to live life to the fullest.  Perhaps an ideal life will always be out there, but happiness can’t be found in so much wishing for something else entirely.

I’m enjoying a quiet afternoon.  I’m happy.

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This time, my dentist pushed me out of the office.  There was no need for pain today.  Gave me the usual send-off packet and told me to keep it up.

I’ve been obsessing over my teeth–brushing, flossing, mouthwash, and etcetera.  You name it.  Plus, the brushing never ever ends at 2 minutes.  I always go over certain areas some more.  Like the back, and behind the front top and bottom.

The best invention ever to prevent problems that the dentist will have to fix?  Give up?  Rotary toothbrushes!

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I posted this over at Kickrunners.com MSF:


I just thought I would ask the race organizers for the Disney World Marathon. I got an explanation, but weirder still.

They have two groups/starts (BLUE–corrals wheelchair, A, B, and RED–elites, corrals C-n). You can tell it’s the start of the marathon when the characters (Goofy, Minnie, Mickey, and Donald) say “3, 2, 1, go” and then the fireworks go off. That’s when the runners break the start tape. Of course, the wheelchairs left 5 minutes earlier.

I was in Corral A, BLUE group. Here’s the weird explanation–the BLUE group started 10 seconds earlier than the RED group, so the gun time is based on the RED group. Huh?

The two starts were on a divided highway, separated by a grassy median (where the stage was). Both starts can see the stage, hear it, see the activity on the other side, see the fireworks, what else? If one group starts at “3, 2, 1, go”, wouldn’t the other as well–unless some race officials were preventing them from doing so?

So they tacked on 10 seconds to my time. I did get to the finish at 3:32:02, meaning of course that I got 3:31:57 (unofficial of course). The mystery is solved, and a small victory of sorts.

I just got a follow-up message:

You have not really been penalized. Your chip time (net time) is correct and so is your clock time. It is just that the time that appears on the clock at the finish is the actual clock time for the red start.

This doesn’t happened, this is the first time this happened in 16 years. Next year we will make sure no one jumps the start.

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Oh shoot. I got too close to the transmitter that it started to download. When I went online, nothing was uploaded.

Can you guess what happened? I didn’t press the RESET button to save the data to history! Ugggh!

Somehow, when the “data” gets transmitted–the buffer is cleared out. Meaning, my unsaved training file is toast! Gone.

Tough lesson learned. After all, there is no way to reconstruct that data. It was a twisted track workout too!

Go figure. 6 X 400, 5 X 400, 4 X 400. 3.75 miles at 6:40 pace. You’ll have to trust my honesty with that. 1 mile warm-up and 1 mile cool-down. I did both warm-up and cool-down at 8:15 pace.

20 second recovery each 400, and 2 X n push-ups in-between sets. For the push-ups, I did: a) 1 X 50 fast, 1 X 30 fast then 1 X 20 slow (the coach caught me and told me to slow it down); b) 2 X 25 slow; c) 1 X 50 slow then 1 X 20 slow 1 X 15 slow 1 X 15 slow; d) for good effect 2 X 25 slow. That’s right–300 push-ups. (show-off!)

Why were we doing push-ups you ask? Was this a nod to cross-fit? Nah; the coaches are aiming it at developing the upper body strength of the triathletes. I don’t think it helps much with the running, but I’ll take part –all for the sake of fun! Yeah–I’m sure I did the most push-ups tonight.

I had a long-sleeved tech-T, but I started sneezing soon after the workout.  Not EIA, but sneezing.  So it must have been somewhat cool tonight.  I think I caught me a cold!

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Follow this link and enjoy!  –>  Ironman Kona on Hulu.com

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